Change of Feed, Change of Fortunes

Neil ofthe nene

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I don't normally write up my pleasure sessions but thought I would share what happened to me yesterday as a change in feeding changed my day.

Being lazy I just went to Wellingborough's Brian Crowhurst fishery at Ringstead and fished peg 9 on the match lake known as Millcotton. A 13m wide snake/canal around 4 1/5 to 5 ft deep and stocked with a wide variety of fish, not just carp. I treat this as a silvers lake and see the carp as a bonus. I last fished this peg in November 2017 and had 30 fish in total (4 carp, 6 skimmers, 11 crucians, 7 roach/rudd, 1 chub and 1 perch). My average year round on this lake for the last few years (I record all my sessions) is around 30 fish in a 6 hour session. Being Spring I see 30 fish as a good day.

My normal approach is to fish down the track and at the bottom of the near shelf but at topkit + 3 left and right so the same rig does for both lines. Once the water gets above 12 degrees I then expect to get carp in the margins, yesterday it was 10.9. Feed at this time of year is micros in varying amounts together with a few grains of corn. I normally would not think about feeding 4 mils until its a little warmer.

Initially I set up two rigs, identical except that one had a B611, 18 for hooking 2, 4 mil expander and corn, the other had a B911 18 with a band for hard pellet. I would use this if I felt the fish responded well. Float was a slim 0.4/5g BGT Grey with a 1.2mm bristle on 0.13 mainline and 0.10 hooklength, solid 12 elastic. Shotting was three No.10 droppers then five No.8s all spread at 4 inch intervals starting on the hooklength knot.

While setting up the pole I cast out a pellet feeder with 4 dead reds on the hook and had three carp in the time it took to get the pole sorted. Normally a good sign.

Although this is designated as a "match" lake it doesn't get booked that much and so is mainly pleasure fished. I think because of that the fish are more hungry than they would be in an equivalent commercial fishery. This means I can feed quite heavily. I therefore fed one spot down the track (topkit + 4) with 200mil of micros and another with a small tosspot of micros and 6 grains of corn, similar amount on my two bottom of the shelf lines. While I didn't expect an immediate response, a recent session saw me take 2 1/2 hours to get the fish feeding, sport was very slow and to start with I could only catch on 2 mil expander. There was a tricky and gusty wind from the left to contend with plus the sun was in front of me and making the float difficult to see at times.

I set up another two rigs. The first was a 1g float with an olivette and droppers. This was because I was sure there was a tow that the wind was creating but the effect on the wind was preventing the lighter float from following the tow. The other rig was my Summer choice for this lake, a 0.5g BGT Shallow Long, a slim rugby ball shape with a 2mm bristle. The thicker bristle would help me see the float in the tricky light conditions. Shotting on that rig was 3xNo10s and four No.6 again strung out at 4-5 inch intervals.

I had nothing on the heavy rig but did start to catch a few on the Summer rig. Gradually getting a few skimmers/bream (some are now 2lb so bream to me), 1 carp and the odd roach.

After five hours I had 18 fish, nowhere near my target so I decided to experiment and change tack. For the first time I picked up the hard pellet rig and wetted a few 4mil pellets. Because of the wind I also opted to fish this straight in front of me but slightly closer in at topkit+3. 6mil hard in the band and I started catapulting a few 4 mils regularly over the top. Within a few minutes I had only my second carp on the pole and continued picking up a few more bream/skimmers, two foulhooked crucians, another roach and a welcome tench of around a pound, my PB for this lake. I did switch back to expander (4mil) for the last half hour and that is when I caught most of my last hour fish.

Having caught 15 fish in five hours on the pole I added another 12 in that last hour to finish with 7 carp (3 on the feeder), 11 skimmers, 4 bream, 1 F1, 2 crucians, 4 roach and the tench. So in six hours on the pole I had 27 fish, close to my target, and a total estimated weight of 37lb, slightly above average.

The fascinating thing of course was the change in catch rate after switching my feed from potted in micros to catapulted 4 mils. I will have to see if that pattern continues. Could be a useful piece of knowledge for future matches on the lake.
 

Total

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Always interesting to read about your catches/matches.....First thing that came to mind about your change of fortunes was 'the time of day' and of course the 'noise factor' of catapulting 4mm pellets. Dropping your feed pellets from a height via a cup/pole pot can have a similar effect. (Sp?)

I've noticed on more than one occasion what you experienced above.......55 year of angling and still learning.....
 

chefster

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The fish always turn up late like that, and as said above they're coming to the noise,
 
D

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My thoughts:
I tend to fish quite a lot of afternoon and evening sessions as it fits with my work.
Fish definitely feed more confidently outside of match times so I’m sure that could be a factor.
Secondly, at this time of year fish are willing to feed but not on the feed like they are in Summer. The sound / movement of bait falling through the water column may have drawn in fish that were not actively scouring the bottom for food but could be tempted?
 

Neil ofthe nene

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This happened at 2-2:30 in the afternoon, previous day it would have been 1-1:30. I doubt the fish put their clocks forward :)

I agree that the noise may have had an effect. This is why I thought it worth writing about. My normal approach works well on the water and I have won a few matches doing it.

Just seemed to be an interesting thing to share on here.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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I might also add that the other reason for me writing about my day was that I am meeting up with a fellow MDr on this water in a couple of weeks for what I might modestly call a coaching session. Certainly a day to share knowledge. It seemed right to place it on the open forum so he and others could read it rather than keep it private.
 
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I might also add that the other reason for me writing about my day was that I am meeting up with a fellow MDr on this water in a couple of weeks for what I might modestly call a coaching session. Certainly a day to share knowledge. It seemed right to place it on the open forum so he and others could read it rather than keep it private.
I agree, fascinating. Thanks for sharing.
As in many aspects of life we can only draw conclusions from limited information.
How will you approach your next session there?
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Most probably to start as I would normally but be quicker to change if plan A doesn't produce as I would expect. Part will be decided by water temperature. Or I may fish two different spots fed in the two different ways and judge them side by side. I have done this in the past using identical rigs with different lengths of hooklength.

The nice thing about this venue is that I know it so well that it is a great place to practice and experiment and I can generally judge whether any changes have an effect.
 

chefster

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This happened at 2-2:30 in the afternoon, previous day it would have been 1-1:30. I doubt the fish put their clocks forward :)

I agree that the noise may have had an effect. This is why I thought it worth writing about. My normal approach works well on the water and I have won a few matches doing it.

Just seemed to be an interesting thing to share on here.
And I'm sure there are a lot who are interested
 

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